Climate change in the Pacific. The Federal Government through the Dept Of Infrastructure and Regional Development has worked closely with our regional Council to ensure Norfolk Island’s waste streams are optimized and procedures and practices thoroughly overhauled in order to ensure Norfolk Island is in line with mainstream and mainland ideals and best practice.
Prior to 2015/16 governmental change Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly struggled to dispose of waste on the island and several problems emerged over the years.
Disposal of non-burnable waste directly into the ocean (incudes cars, bottles tiles, cement board, white goods etc)
Disposal of untreated sewerage directly into the ocean
Open air burning of miscellaneous unsorted waste including plastics
Ban on Solar panels due to diesel generator infrastructure.
Stock-piling of waste such as asbestos
No E-Waste strategy.
No solar storage solution strategies ( https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-07/norfolk-island-becoming-choked-with-derelict-cars/10961870 )
No strategy to educate locals on best practice waste reduction
Recycling was limited to glass crushing for driveways and a small “shop” in the waste management centre where old cast-offs could be taken away.
Since 2015/16 there have been some improvements including a car crushing machine, waste being shipped off the island monthly (via dedicated air freighter) to be processed on the mainland (including e-waste, cans and white goods), Compost baler machine (for recycling paper and cardboard), general sorting of waste to improve streams and a user pays system to help finance the expensive nature of waste management.
Stategies being formulated include reports by Hydro-Tasmania to look at solar storage solutions for the island (currently excess solar produced cannot be stored or utilized), Sewerage treatment strategies, water quality and water table research by CSIRO in order to address long term sustainability issues and in order to inform government policy around that, Argentine Ant eradication program in order to resume green waste management (currently individuals are responsible for their own green waste removal and burning throughout the island)
Although there is still a general solar ban until diesel generation is sustained at optimal levels it is expected to be lifted in the future. The island still has a long way to go but progress in only two years has been encouraging and if continued will see Norfolk into a sustainable and practicable future.